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McConnell tells Obama to "back off" on Supreme Court

FILE - In this July 30, 2011 file photo, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Ky. speaks at a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington. The struggle to head off a national debt default played out on two tracks, as do most big things in the capital. One was for show. The other was for real. The two tracks finally came together, in the knick of time, on Tuesday, when the Senate granted final passage to legislation raising the debt ceiling, trimming spending and punting the most painful decisions on deficits down the road. President Barack Obama's pen sealed the deal. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, File) J. Scott Applewhite

Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell on Thursday continued to blast President Obama for his recent remarks regarding the Supreme Court, in spite of the administration's continued attempts to explain the comments.

"Respectfully, I would suggest the president back off," McConnell said in a speech at the Lexington, Kentucky Rotary Club, according to his prepared remarks. "Let the Court do its work. Let our system work the way it was intended."

Earlier this week, Mr. Obama said that if the Supreme Court were to overturn his health care overhaul, it would be "unprecedented."

The president has sought to clarify his remarks, noting that the court traditionally pays heed to Congress, and Attorney General Eric Holder on Thursday sent a letter to an appellate judge arguing that Mr. Obama's remarks were "fully consistent" with longstanding views of judicial review.

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Still, McConnell charged today that the president "seems to be saying that you're an activist if you're not stretching the limits of the limited powers the Constitution gives to the federal government." He said that Mr. Obama's statements amounted to the beginning of "a political campaign to delegitimize the Court."

"He looked at the line that wisely separates the three branches of government, and stepped right over it," McConnell said. "But what the president did this week went even farther. With his words, he was no longer trying to embarrass the court after a decision; rather, he tried to intimidate it before a decision has been made. And that should be intolerable to all of us."

When asked Thursday whether Mr. Obama would mount a political attack against the court should it overturn the health care law, White House spokesman Jay Carney said, "The president believes that the Supreme Court has the final word on matters of judicial review on the constitutionality of legislation. He would, having been a professor of law."

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